What do you want to do with your life?

I’ve got this friend and we’ve been e-mailing back and forth for seven or eight years now about what we want to be when we grow up. It’s become largely an academic question, because he’s now in his mid-thirties and I’m in my, ah, very mid-thirties and the course of our lives has been set — by the choices we’ve made while waiting for adulthood to show up, by the responsibilities created by those choices and by the people we’ve accreted into our lives during that time. It turns out adulthood doesn’t happen on your twenty-first birthday so much compile via sediment over the next decade or so.

Family, check. House, check. Car, check. Going abroad, check. You can get all that. So why do we keep asking the question?

Because it doesn’t feel completely answered: What do I want to do with my life?

That’s easy — or, rather, it’s easy to answer. I want to create something, build something, make something, with my hands and my brain and whatever tiny bit of passion I can muster. It doesn’t even matter what, really: cool things; fun things; interesting things; silly or stupid things. Things that make other people happy, or amused, or enraged, or some goddamned way other than what they were when they came in. Things that get a reaction, that have some sort of meaning, to me and to others. I want to exercise my creativity in ways that corporate and familial responsibilties don’t offer. I love my family and like my company, but they both need me to be solid and predictable and reliable. I want to be that, of course, but more, too. I want to do something.

And the doing turns out to be the hard part. Time, energy, motivation — they’re all necessary and all drained away by the work-a-day world, by all the other things that there are to take care of, the stuff we have to do because our families and our jobs depend on us getting them taken care of. I come home, ground down to a tiny little nub by work and the commute and everything else, and have dinner and talk to the kid and put him in bed and… I’m done. My brain curls up into a little ball and cries itself to sleep. Day after day after day.

But when all is said and done, that’s a pretty poor excuse, isn’t it? For all the hardship in the world, if the only thing standing between me and some sort of existential satisfaction is that there’s too much else to do, well, then, hmm.

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4 thoughts on “What do you want to do with your life?

  1. Cuckoo says:

    Very thought provoking post and very difficult question to answer honestly.
    If we know what is that ‘something’, we would get nirvana. I think it is that ‘something’ which keeps us going like a mirage does to us.

    Nice post. 🙂

  2. Teri says:

    I have a sixty-something-year-old aunt who frequently talks about what she wants to be when she grows up. For that matter, so do I. I have a career, a family, a house, but in the end, there’s always something more, isn’t there? something we feel like we should be doing, even if we don’t know what it is.

    I think I would be more satisfied with my life if I was purposeful – as it stands, more often than not, i react rather than act.

    Very thought-provoking post!

  3. Shini says:

    Such an interesting post – after a long time!
    Yes, so many things crouch upon our life’s 24 * (60+) * 365 hours, that it leaves us feeling what you felt! So much do I feel the same thing that you have jus penned down. I notice that you love writing so much and spend some time in a week to blog ur thoughts. Now, if I were in ur place, I would be certainly happy with this – coz i find the posts creative and interesting, something out of ur heart(hmm, not brain) and something that you share with ur friends and make them feel happy!!

    I wonder what you can do to take these blog posts forward and make something more interesting outta them! In a gist, I feel you have partly acheived what you thought through this post!

    And yes, there are so many things one can do in the time that you get to blog, like I have a small teeny weeny wishlist, which I find some time to fulfill in a week’s time 🙂 So it depends, on what you are doing now becoz I find ur blogs satisfying that feeling from a third perspective.

    Lets hope u find something else more fulfilling out of this or simply outta ur brain! 🙂

  4. […] What do you want to do with your life?*  I think for most of us, this remains a puzzle. What we want to do and what we do, always there is a difference. Sometimes I feel it is human nature which force us to urge for other side of the grass, which seems to be greener always or may be this is the thing which we named as Destiny. Destiny, an absolute result of the actions, According to few, it is constant but I feel it is variable and directly proportional to the actions associated with our surrounding. Please note this point, Action associated with our surrounding not only our actions. Now again these actions performed in a passive manner or in a proactive manner, it doesn’t matter, the thing which matter is the degree of completion of that action.  Regarding this life and destiny association theory, there are lot of confusions and misconceptions. What is this life, or life is the result of actions or it controlled by the so called the Almighty. People expressed their views by saying, the accidents, natural calamity, disasters are not pre predicted, and these things are somewhere related to the destiny of concern people.   For the above point I can say that always this world is divided between two types of people self believers or the people who think on the basis of logic or followers, this part of the people is very large in number and they always need one leader, whose principles they can follow. It is very easy to be a part of later one, no hurdle, no question, easy but dark life. But I f you want to join the first brigade, be ready for the difficulties, as we don’t want to see the naked truth and logic is based on truth.   […]

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